Pret signs new partnership deal with Moto: Pret A Manger has announced a new partnership with Moto, which will see Pret expand its motorway service estate back to three shops in the UK. The first shop under the new deal will be at Cherwell Valley services and is scheduled to open its doors in December, with a second shop planned at Moto’s new Rugby service area, opening in early 2021. Both shops will serve a menu of freshly prepared salads, sandwiches, baguettes and breakfasts, and organic coffee and tea, all prepared in the shop’s on-site kitchens throughout the day. Pret currently operates a site with Welcome Break at its South Mimms services. Until earlier this year, it also operated two sites with Roadchef, at its Chester services on the M56 and at Clacket Lane westbound on the M25. Both these sites have since closed. Clare Clough, UK managing director of Pret A Manger, said of the new Moto partnership: “Working with Moto is an exciting step for Pret as we begin to expand our estate at motorway services. We know many Moto customers are looking for freshly prepared food, which they can pick up on the go, and Pret can offer a delicious menu, and the speedy, friendly service our customers are used to.” Moto chief executive Ken McMeikan added: “We’re delighted Pret is joining our stable of leading high street brands. I look forward to expanding our working relationship in the coming months.”
Kitchen space provider Foodstars to increase regional presence: Foodstars, which provides kitchen space for food companies and is backed by former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick, is to increase its regional presence with openings in Leeds and Manchester, Propel has learned. The company, which was founded by William Beresford, Daniel Abrahams and Roy Shaby in Bethnal Green in 2015, will launch a site in the Burley area of Leeds next month. It will follow this with an opening in Manchester’s Dark Lane. Both new kitchens will be based close to busy student districts. Earlier this year, the company made its regional debut with the opening of a kitchen in Manchester Street, Birmingham. Last month, the group opened a site in Croydon’s Beddington Lane. The company took its estate of kitchens in London to eight at the end of 2019, with openings in Colindale and Wandsworth. It also operates kitchens in Battersea, Bermondsey, Bethnal Green, Kentish Town, Shoreditch and Vauxhall. The company leases kitchen space to restaurants that sell food through delivery apps. City Storage Systems, which trades as Cloud Kitchens in the US, quietly invested in Foodstars last year, according to documents filed at Companies House. The investment marked Kalanick’s first expansion outside the US. Beresford, Abrahams and Shaby started making takeaway sushi in Camberwell, south London, in 2012, renting out their kitchen space to cover costs.
Carl’s Jr seeking UK franchisee: Quick service US burger brand Carl’s Jr is seeking a UK master franchisee as it looks to make its debut here. The company, which is nearing 1,000 international sites, is focusing on developing its network in the UK and across Europe, building on the success it has already had in Denmark, Russia, Spain and France. Last month, it opened its first site near Paris, at the Velizy shopping centre. Last year, the brand, which is owned by CKE Restaurants, appointed Tim Lowther, formerly of Burger King, Shake Shack and Smashburger, to head up Europe and Russia for CKE Restaurants as general manager. CKE has been looking at launching in the UK since the turn of the past decade, and originally was seeking franchisees that could support 24 or more units for the quick-service burger brand.
Jollibee set to open Nottingham site for fourth UK outlet: Jollibee, the Philippines fast food group, is set to open its fourth UK site, in Nottingham. The company, which offers single plates combining fried chicken, spaghetti, and beef with gravy and rice, is set to move into the long-derelict 46-48 Clumber Street building, reports The Business Desk. Jollibee has sites in London’s Earls Court and Liverpool and, last month, announced it is opening in the former Select unit in Humberstone Gate, Leicester. Metro Bank had earmarked plans to open in 46-48 Clumber Street in Nottingham, but shelved the move last year. The new Jollibee restaurant is expected to create 70 jobs. Jollibee operates circa 1,200 outlets worldwide.
Davenports acquires Stourport-on-Severn inn from Hawthorn Leisure: West Midlands brewer Davenports has acquired the Ye Olde Crown Inn, Stourport-on-Severn, from Hawthorn Leisure, the pub operations arm of NewRiver. Jack Sinclair, director at James A Baker, which acted on behalf of Hawthorn Leisure, told Propel: “This large town centre licensed property attracted a good level of interest from local and regional operators despite the covid-19 pandemic. A number of bids were received and it is clear the market is still very active as we have seen encouraging sales performance despite the unprecedented and uncertain times the country has found itself in.”
Mourad Mazouz launches 1930s-style restaurant Mo Diner: Mourad Mazouz has opened a 1930s-style restaurant called Mo Diner next door to his Momo site. The Los Angeles-inspired venue, mixed with Moroccan touches, in Heddon Street, Mayfair, has enlisted Eric Chavot to take charge of setting the menu. The site opened briefly before lock-down but is back up and running with executive chef Chavot – French Michelin-starred cook of Bob Bob Cité and Bob Bob Ricard fame – also responsible for menus at Momo and the group’s restaurants in Paris. The site opens at 8am from Wednesday to Sunday and serves breakfast until noon, including Berber 1,000 holes Moroccan pancakes with honey; potato hash with spring onions; porridge with almond milk, pomegranate, molasses and banana; and a host of egg dishes. An all-day menu is in operation post-noon until closing with soups and salads; sandwiches; vegetarian, meat and fish meals; and desserts. There’s a drinks menu including smoothies, milkshakes and hard shakes, cocktails, beer and wine.
St John Bakery to open site in Borough: St John Bakery is to open a new site in the capital, in Borough. The company will open the outlet in Borough High Street on Monday (19 October), reports Hot Dinners. The site will be supplied by the main bakery in nearby Bermondsey, and will offer goods such as doughnuts, sandwiches, Eccles cakes, chocolate brownies, pastries and bread. Delivery will also be available via Deliveroo. St John Bakery also operates a site in Neal’s Yard in Seven Dials while it is also among the traders that can be found at Boulevard Market in Islington, which runs between Friday and Sunday.
Chantelle Nicholson to launch pop-up restaurant All’s Well in Hackney: Chef-restaurateur Chantelle Nicholson is launching a three-month-long pop-up in Hackney later this month. Called All’s Well, it will be a casual restaurant that Nicholson says will hold her “ethos for sustainable cooking and dining at its core”. The chef said her Covent Garden restaurant Tredwells will continue to operate and the pop-up will help preserve jobs, morale and positivity within the restaurant while it to continues to face “tough trading conditions brought on by theatres and offices in the West End remaining closed”. The new pop-up, which will run for a minimum of three months in Mare Street, will have a daily changing menu of dishes that use ingredients from small British producers with more than 50% of the menu given over to vegetarian dishes. Earlier this year, Nicholson announced plans to relocate Tredwells to a more of a neighbourhood-led London location and reopen it as a multi-functional space. Of the new pop-up, which opens on Tuesday, 27 October, she said: “All’s Well’s menu will be the food I love created with my ethos of sustainability. I’m going to work backwards from what is available from the tight range of suppliers that inspire and motivate me to create really delicious food. While this may be an odd time to be opening a restaurant, I feel a responsibility to preserve jobs and create new challenges for those who work with me. I’ve been coveting a neighbourhood to become part of for quite some time, so this feels like a positive opportunity to meet a new crowd, as well as welcoming some of Tredwells’ guests too.”
Nando’s launches plant-based alternative to chicken: Nando’s has launched a new plant-based alternative to chicken, the first time the brand has ever offered customers a substitute to meat on its menu in the UK. The new plant-based dish, which is named “The Great Imitator”, is made entirely from pea protein and can be found on the group’s menu in the “burgers, pittas and wraps” section. It costs £5.90 on its own, £7.90 with one regular side and £9.40 with two regular sides, and has been designed to taste, smell and look exactly like the restaurant’s peri-peri chicken breast fillet. The group said the launch of The Great Imitator marks one step in its commitment to becoming a more environmentally friendly company by reducing its carbon footprint.
Milk & Sugar cafe builds portfolio with new site: Independent cafe operator Milk & Sugar has expanded with a new outlet at Eastern Business Park in Cardiff. The business, owned by Tim Corrigan, already has a venue open on the ground floor of the 1 Central Square office scheme in the centre of the city. Robert Hitchens, Eastern Business Park owners, has refurbished the restaurant area that houses more than 5,000 square foot of space plus an alfresco dining terrace. Corrigan said: “This is an incredible opportunity in a great working environment. Robert Hitchins was very innovative in providing large, open-plan catering facilities at Eastern Business Park and invested heavily in the facilities. What we’ve done is add the finishing touches to create a place where people can relax, eat fantastic food in a great environment, which will, hopefully, become the heartbeat and hub of the park. There is plenty of space to allow table service only and social distancing. We can look after 100 people very comfortably and still comply with covid regulations. We’ve been using app technology for five years so it’s easy for people to pre-order lunch from their desk, home or on their way to work.”
Red Dog Saloon brings back brunch: Barbecue restaurant Red Dog Saloon has launched a brunch menu at its Soho and Southampton sites that has been inspired by the spices and flavours of Mexico. It is also now open earlier to cater for breakfast-brunch customers. A statement from Red Dog Saloon read: “In light of the government’s new 10pm rule – brunch is back. The new menu is a melting pot of cultures and flavours, heavily inspired by Austin, Texas, barbecue flavours and the Mexican street food scene.” Diners can expect dishes such as huevos rancheros: a dish loaded with tortillas, eggs, queso fresco, avocado and pinto beans; and tacos de desayuno for Red Dog’s spin on the classic breakfast taco with scrambled eggs and chorizo – all available from 9am until 1pm. Red Dog Saloon was launched in Hoxton, London, by pitmaster Tom Brooke who opened two further sites in London (Soho and Clapham) and three more nationally – in Nottingham, Southampton and Liverpool.
Micro-brewery owner buys North Yorkshire pub: Former rugby league player Andy Gascoigne has bought The Farmer Arms pub in Muker, North Yorkshire. Gascoigne, who played for Hull and Leeds in the 1980s, also owns Haworth Steam Brewery, one of the UK’s smallest independent micro-breweries, and Haworth Gins. Located in the picturesque Upper Swaledale district of the Yorkshire Dales, The Farmers Arms freehold was sold through Christie & Co off an asking price of £575,000. The pub has retained many of its traditional features and offers a variety of local ale, lager and home-cooked food. Gascoigne said: “My wife and I have wanted to buy a pub for some time now and we know Muker and The Farmers Arms very well. We already have a brewery and drinks business, so we are no strangers to the licensed trade. We’ve got some exciting plans for the pub and look forward to getting our teeth into it over the next few weeks and months.” David Cash, associate director at Christie & Co who handled the sale added: “We are currently seeing increased buyer demand for hospitality businesses by the coast or in the countryside, as many prospective buyers are looking for an alternative lifestyle, while capitalising on the recent staycation boom seen across the UK.”
Cheltenham-based operator sells fine dining restaurant to focus on gin and tea bar concept: Cheltenham-based operator Litu Mohiuddin has sold his East India Café site to focus on his Memsahib Gin and Tea Bar concept. East India Café, which was launched in 2014 and offers Anglo-Indian fine dining inspired by the British Raj period, has been acquired by businessman Mohammed Rahman. Mohiuddin told Punch Gloucester: “We have ambitious plans for Memsahib Gin and Tea Bar over the coming years and a number of other projects in the pipeline. We felt the time was right to sell East India Cafe, so that we can give our total focus to this work.” Rahman said: “East India Cafe very quickly transitioned during covid to enable diners to enjoy its food at home through both takeaway and home delivery. I will be continuing this in the short term at least, but will also be looking at ways to safely reopen the restaurant as soon as possible.” Mohiuddin launched Memsahib Gin and Tea Bar in 2018 for what was reported to be the world’s first gin and tea bar.
Scully restaurant launches dinner-at-home delivery service across UK: Scully St James’s is launching “Scully at Home” dinner delivery service. The central London restaurant is offering the £80 boxed meal for delivery across the UK with customers simply adding the finishing touches. The meal for two consists of a gourmet three-course dinner that “showcases the artistry of Scully’s cuisine” with two meat and one vegetarian option to choose from – with deliveries arriving on Fridays, when ordered before 9am on Thursdays. Included in the box are nibbles such as Scully’s warm masala chickpeas, two seasonal salads, the pre-cooked meat or vegetarian main plus a dessert. All the dishes feature foods and ingredients from Ramael Scully’s own larder in which he ferments, pickles and dehydrates foods in their harvest prime to provide the complex, yet impactful flavours for which he is known. Scully was the head chef for well-known restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi, who runs six sites across the capital. The menu will change on a regular basis.
Whitbread plan to open 83-bedroom Premier Inn gets green light: Whitbread will open an 83-bedroom Premier Inn after plans were approved for the site in Northumberland. Northern Commercial Properties earmarked a site on Willowburn Trading Estate in Alnwick, which will see the demolition of vacant buildings in a 3.5-acre plot and create more than 100 jobs – 30 of them at the Premier Inn. A statement filed with the council on behalf of the applicant read: “The proposals create an opportunity to provide a well-designed scheme within a high-quality landscape, which complements its surroundings and is able to utilise successfully the existing infrastructure within the area.” The hotel will be three storeys high, with a ground-floor restaurant/bar and provide a range of staff facilities. Stuart Rose, acquisition manager at Premier Inn, said when the scheme was first announced last year: “We’re excited at the prospect of bringing a new 83-bedroom Premier Inn hotel to Alnwick and reinvigorating a currently derelict site. Our hotels in market towns like Alnwick perform very well, attracting a high number of business and leisure guests throughout the year and also helping to support the local economy as most of our customers visit local attractions and eat and drink out when they stay with us. We are confident we will trade well in Alnwick and Premier Inn’s style of flexible accommodation will increase the choice for visitors wishing to stay in the town and help to market it to people who may not currently visit.”